My undergrad journalism unit continues…so far I’ve discovered the importance of talking to anyone and everyone and therefore being a good communicator; writing towards a deadline and using a variety of sources to create a balanced story.
Now comes working the patch, in pairs (for safety reasons), we have been assigned specific areas of Bournemouth, I was lucky enough to receive Springbourne and Lansdowne to work on.
I consulted the Guardian Careers’: diary of a budding journalist for advice. The diary follows one of City University’s MA magazine journalism students, Nikki Osman, who reported on her experiences of working her patch; a corner of London.
Whilst Bournemouth and London hardly compare in terms of the drama and excitement they see, I thought that it would be useful to follow her approach to finding a story. Nikki identifies a difference between finding the story and getting the story.
On a walk through her patch in search of a story she encountered arrests, fights and a business scam as possible leads, all to her disappointment, coming to dead ends. With police refusing to be interviewed, sources not turning up to meetings and a lack of eye-witnesses to substantiate a story it seems that the role of a journalist involves as much chasing as it does writing.
She finally managed to put together a piece, meeting her deadline on a national story. She decided to interview locals from her patch on budget cuts, a story that was bound to provoke reactions. She found that people were more than happy to talk to her, expressing anger at police cuts and telling her their experiences of crime.
So far I have taken a walk through both Springbourne and Lansdowne, my eyes and ears constantly searching for possible leads. Whilst these areas do have a lot going on, sometimes sadly for the wrong reasons, I found it difficult to actually find people to talk to. Timing is always something to be taken in to consideration when looking for people to talk to, I visited my patch on a weekday early afternoon so not surprisingly found few people in the streets.
Nikki noted that incessantly talking to people was the only way to obtain a source for a story. She made several phone calls and interviews before even deciding which story to follow up which is why I am due to meet with several locals this week.